HC Deb 26 March 1963 vol 674 cc1096-7
8. Mr. G. M. Thomson

asked the Secretary for Technical Co-operation to what extent he has been able to arrange official schemes of secondment to developing countries for local government officers, university teachers and similar professional groups.

Mr. Vosper

There are regular arrangements for secondments in a number of professional fields, particularly where the persons concerned are employed by Government Departments and statutory corporations. I have given some information in reply to the Question by the hon. Member for Dunfermline Burghs (Dr. A. Thompson) about the secondment of university teachers. The problems affecting the secondment of local government officers are at present being examined in consultation with the Ministry of Housing and Local Government.

Mr. Thomson

Can the Minister assure us that he will give as much leadership as he can in this direction? Would he not agree that probably the most important way in which we can give technical assistance to the new countries in the years ahead is for a wide variety of professional people to come to regard it as a normal part of their professional life to spend a year or two in secondment to the developing countries?

Mr. Vosper

Yes, I am glad to give that assurance, because I believe that secondment is the way to help developing countries to obtain people from this country. We have had to tackle this matter profession by profession, and I am now in consultation with my right hon. Friend concerning local government officers.

Mr. Lagden

On a point of order. Are you aware, Mr. Speaker, that the House of Commons cannot today be approached by the usual channels by those who have legitimate business in the House? Could you possibly do something to make sure that those who wish to approach the House and who have every right to do so have a channel made for them?

Mr. Speaker

If the hon. Member can give further particulars of the point of obstruction to those concerned, I am sure that strict compliance with the Sessional Order will be ensured.